Features

The Friday Five: 5 Suggestions for Ultimate Team in NBA Live

The Friday Five

Welcome to this week’s edition of The Friday Five! The Friday Five is a feature that I post every Friday in which I give my thoughts on a topic that’s related to NBA Live, NBA 2K, and other basketball video games, as well as the real NBA, and other areas of interest to our community. The feature is presented as either a list of five items, or in the form of a Top 5 countdown.

We’re coming to the end of my series of Friday Five articles on the key improvements and additions I’d like to see in NBA Live 18 and beyond. Having covered gameplay, Dynasty, Rising Star, LIVE Pro-Am, and roster editing, it’s now time to talk about Ultimate Team. Ultimate Team has been a fairly solid mode since it was introduced to the series in NBA Live 14, and reasonably popular. There’s definitely still room for improvement though, and since the card collecting/team building modes are such a big part of sports games these days, I do have a few suggestions on how it can improve.

Before I begin, I want to give an honourable mention to pack odds. Fair odds and value are always an important issue when it comes to the team building modes, and although Ultimate Team’s packs aren’t too unfair, they could stand to be a little better. Whether it’s the packs bought from the store, or reward packs that are earned by completing a challenge, I’d like to see some guaranteed rare cards, especially when Legends are up for grabs. With that being said, here’s my list of five suggestions that I believe would enhance Ultimate Team in future NBA Live games.

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Wayback Wednesday: NBA Live PC Mod

Shaquille O'Neal dunks in NBA Live PC for NBA Live 06

This is Wayback Wednesday, your midweek blast from the past! In this feature, we dig into the archives, look back at the history of basketball gaming, and indulge in some nostalgia. Check in every Wednesday for retrospectives and other features on older versions of NBA Live, NBA 2K, and old school basketball video games in general. You’ll also find old NLSC editorials re-published with added commentary, and other flashback content.

Inspired by last week’s dig through the archives, I went rummaging again to see what else I could find. My search yielded some preview screenshots for the NBA Live PC mod, which became the NLSC’s comprehensive roster update for the PC version of NBA Live 06 for several years. Since I enjoyed looking back at my 1996 season mod for NBA Live 2004 last week, I thought that I’d do the same for a current roster update that I maintained for one of my all-time favourite games in the series. With NBA Live 06 being next up in our 20th Anniversary of NBA Live retrospectives, it also seemed fitting.

So, why did the mod bear that name, and how did it come about? Let’s take a look back…way back…

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Monday Tip-Off: Is the Future of Modding In-Game?

Team Designs, an example of in-game modding in NBA 2K17

We’re at midcourt, and the ball is about to go up…it’s Monday Tip-Off! Start your week here at the NLSC with a feature that’s dedicated to opinions, commentary, and other fun stuff related to NBA Live, NBA 2K, and other basketball video games.

TGsoGood offered up an interesting question in the Forum a couple of weeks ago, concerning the current state of modding. He noted that while modding has always had its ups and downs, the hobby is not quite what it used to be, at least for the most recent releases. While modders have been a little more active so far this year, and the tools and resources at their disposal are the best they’ve been since the PC started receiving the same version of NBA 2K as the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, as TGsoGood alluded to, we’re not finding ourselves in a new golden era of modding.

With that being said, there are plenty of users who are customising NBA 2K17. As TGsoGood also pointed out, gamers are making great use of the team rebranding and roster customisation options to create a variety of modifications that are distributed through the in-game sharing facilities. Therefore, the question before us is this: is the future of modding in-game? Since Arcane and Kenny aren’t involved with the modding scene, I decided that I’d tackle the issue in this week’s Monday Tip-Off, rather than on the NLSC Podcast.

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The Friday Five: 5 Suggestions for Rising Star in NBA Live

The Friday Five

Welcome to this week’s edition of The Friday Five! The Friday Five is a feature that I post every Friday in which I give my thoughts on a topic that’s related to NBA Live, NBA 2K, and other basketball video games, as well as the real NBA, and other areas of interest to our community. The feature is presented as either a list of five items, or in the form of a Top 5 countdown.

So, we now know that the next NBA Live game – presumably titled NBA Live 18 – will be released later this year, and is intended to be a fully-featured title. While there is understandably some disappointment and scepticism within the NBA Live community at the moment, there is also an opportunity for the development team to go all out in enhancing game modes, and adding features such as roster customisation. As I’ve outlined in recent editions of The Friday Five, those are some very important and overdue improvements that are vital to NBA Live getting to where it needs to be.

I’ve already covered Dynasty and LIVE Pro-Am, but there’s much work to be done with Rising Star as well. Career modes are extremely popular these days, therefore it’s crucial that Rising Star is brought up to speed, and given the depth that will make it a more engaging and enjoyable experience. From the action on the court to the features that make a career mode more immersive, there are a couple of key enhancements that Rising Star should receive in forthcoming NBA Live titles. This week, I’m discussing five of them.

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Wayback Wednesday: My 1996 Season Patch for NBA Live 2004

Shaquille O'Neal Cover Shot in the 1996 Season Roster for NBA Live 2004

This is Wayback Wednesday, your midweek blast from the past! In this feature, we dig into the archives, look back at the history of basketball gaming, and indulge in some nostalgia. Check in every Wednesday for retrospectives and other features on older versions of NBA Live, NBA 2K, and old school basketball video games in general. You’ll also find old NLSC editorials re-published with added commentary, and other flashback content.

Last week, I wrote an article talking about the lure of roster modding. As I explained in that feature, while modding in general is something I don’t do as much as I used to, there’s always the temptation to get back into it. I really did enjoy making those current roster updates for so many years, as well as the occasional special project. One such project was my 1996 season patch for NBA Live 2004, which thanks to the contributions of some of our best art modders at the time, turned out to be reasonably comprehensive…at least compared to some of my previous retro season patches.

To this day, it remains one of my favourite patches that I’ve made for NBA Live 2004, or indeed, any other game. I recently came across some old preview images of the patch in my archives, and figured it would be fun to share them, along with a few reflections on the mod. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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Monday Tip-Off: All-Star Disappointment in NBA 2K17’s MyCAREER

Three-Point Shootout Intro in NBA 2K17's MyCAREER

We’re at midcourt, and the ball is about to go up…it’s Monday Tip-Off! Start your week here at the NLSC with a feature that’s dedicated to opinions, commentary, and other fun stuff related to NBA Live, NBA 2K, and other basketball video games.

As I briefly described here in the Forum, I had a rather unfortunate experience in my NBA 2K17 MyCAREER game last week. The All-Star Weekend didn’t exactly finish with a bang, thanks to a rather nasty glitch that I feared might have messed up my MyCAREER save in more ways than I originally anticipated. Combined with some disappointment in the Slam Dunk Contest, it’s fair to say that the All-Star Weekend didn’t turn out to be one of the highlights of my NBA 2K17 MyCAREER thus far. As such, I thought that I’d talk a little bit more about it in this week’s Monday Tip-Off.

Spoiler alert: I will be talking about a development in the story that happens a considerable way into MyCAREER. It’s not exactly a plot point on the level of Tyler Durden, Dr. Malcolm Crowe, or even Luke Skywalker’s parentage – though I guess those twists are actually all common knowledge now, anyway – but out of respect to those who’d like to let the story reveal itself, I figure it’s only appropriate to offer a heads up. It’s also something else that kind of bugged me, so I definitely wanted to touch upon it. With that said, here’s how the 2017 All-Star Weekend went down for me in MyCAREER.

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The Friday Five: 5 Suggestions for LIVE Pro-Am in NBA Live

The Friday Five

Welcome to this week’s edition of The Friday Five! The Friday Five is a feature that I post every Friday in which I give my thoughts on a topic that’s related to NBA Live, NBA 2K, and other basketball video games, as well as the real NBA, and other areas of interest to our community. The feature is presented as either a list of five items, or in the form of a Top 5 countdown.

As you may know from previous articles and the NLSC Podcast, I’ve become a big fan of 2K Pro-Am in NBA 2K16 and NBA 2K17. I was originally sceptical of 2K’s approach, and after playing LIVE Pro-Am at an NBA Live 16 community event, I figured that its quicker games would be more fun. However, I’ve come to like the 2K Pro-Am concept a lot more, and find myself wishing that LIVE Pro-Am could find a way to cater to those tastes as well. There are definitely aspects of 2K Pro-Am that NBA Live could stand to borrow, while implementing them in its own style.

Of course, I don’t want to see LIVE Pro-Am simply become a clone of 2K Pro-Am. While I think there are features it should look to borrow, it has its own concepts that are worth building upon. It has the potential to cater to fans of the 2K Pro-Am approach, while also offering a different experience with its own appeal. In fact, by combining a few concepts that we’ve seen in both games so far, NBA Live could potentially end up with the deeper and more varied Pro-Am mode. Here are five suggestions that I believe would help achieve that.

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Wayback Wednesday: The Hangar in NBA Live 10

The Hangar in NBA Live 10

This is Wayback Wednesday, your midweek blast from the past! In this feature, we dig into the archives, look back at the history of basketball gaming, and indulge in some nostalgia. Check in every Wednesday for retrospectives and other features on older versions of NBA Live, NBA 2K, and old school basketball video games in general. You’ll also find old NLSC editorials re-published with added commentary, and other flashback content.

Since I took a look back at The Temple in NBA Live 06 and NBA Live 07 last week, I thought that for week’s Wayback Wednesday, I’d reminisce about The Hangar in NBA Live 10. While The Hangar wasn’t as quite as revolutionary as The Temple – it was a continuation of the same concept, after all – it was nevertheless one of NBA Live’s most memorable practice arenas. It was a pretty cool design to say the least, and it also included a few nifty features that I remembered when I recently fired up NBA Live 10 on Xbox 360 to test out my new capture card.

The Hangar is certainly one of my favourite practice arenas in the NBA Live series, so join me as I take a look back…way back.

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Monday Tip-Off: The Lure of Roster Modding

Kawhi Leonard in the 2012/2013 Roster for NBA Live 08

We’re at midcourt, and the ball is about to go up…it’s Monday Tip-Off! Start your week here at the NLSC with a feature that’s dedicated to opinions, commentary, and other fun stuff related to NBA Live, NBA 2K, and other basketball video games.

It’s been almost four years since I released my last current roster updates for NBA Live 2005 through 08. Although I’ve dabbled with beta versions of a fictional league roster and an Ultimate Jordan roster – and I would like to return to those projects at some point – it would seem that my days of working on the rosters and other big modding projects are getting further and further behind me. That’s not to say that I won’t continue to release work here and there, or that I’m completely done with modding, but right now, I’d have to say that I think I’m done with regular current season roster updates.

I’m phrasing it that way because I wouldn’t want to say that I’m definitely, unquestionably done, at least until I get to a point in my life where being involved in modding simply isn’t feasible. While I don’t want to give the impression that any announcements or releases are imminent, doing some more work with rosters is something that I wouldn’t want to rule out completely. As tiresome as the process can be, as much as it can become a chore, I can’t deny that as someone who has worked on such projects for many years, the lure of roster modding is often strong.

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The Friday Five: 5 Roster Editing Needs in NBA Live

The Friday Five

Welcome to this week’s edition of The Friday Five! The Friday Five is a feature that I post every Friday in which I give my thoughts on a topic that’s related to NBA Live, NBA 2K, and other basketball video games, as well as the real NBA, and other areas of interest to our community. The feature is presented as either a list of five items, or in the form of a Top 5 countdown.

Great gameplay is paramount, deep game modes keep us hooked, but another essential element of any basketball video game is customisation. It’s an area where NBA Live has been lacking since its comeback in 2013, and although NBA Live 16 did see the return of gameplay sliders, roster editing was still missing. It’s an issue that many of us have grown impatient about, and to that end, it’s vital that roster customisation returns to NBA Live in the next full release. If what’s coming in the first quarter of this year is a stripped down release or demo as currently speculated, it would be understandable if there isn’t any roster editing in that.

But yes, the next full version of NBA Live absolutely needs to provide us with roster editing functionality. As I’ve said many times before when discussing this topic, it’s nice to have the official roster updates, but there are times when we want (and need) to make our own changes, and we should be able to do that. Roster editing has been a staple of basketball video games for a long time now, and there are a few functions in particular that we need to have. Without any further ado, here are five roster customisation features that I believe NBA Live needs moving forward.

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Wayback Wednesday: The Temple in NBA Live 06 & 07

Dwyane Wade in The Temple in NBA Live 06

This is Wayback Wednesday, your midweek blast from the past! In this feature, we dig into the archives, look back at the history of basketball gaming, and indulge in some nostalgia. Check in every Wednesday for retrospectives and other features on older versions of NBA Live, NBA 2K, and old school basketball video games in general. You’ll also find old NLSC editorials re-published with added commentary, and other flashback content.

Whenever a basketball video game makes the leap to a new generation of gaming hardware, there’s usually some sort of feature or gimmick that underlines the fact that it’s a new era. The jump to the Xbox 360 marked the start of a difficult time for the NBA Live series, with the 360 version of NBA Live 06 being something of a disappointment. I’ll go into more details about the game in my forthcoming retrospective for our 20th Anniversary of NBA Live content, but one very cool feature that the game did boast was its practice gym: The Temple.

The Temple – which also appeared in NBA Live 07 – wasn’t just eye-catching in design, but also a somewhat revolutionary take on the existing practice mode. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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Monday Tip-Off: Would I Nintendo Switch?

Nintendo Switch Logo

We’re at midcourt, and the ball is about to go up…it’s Monday Tip-Off! Start your week here at the NLSC with a feature that’s dedicated to opinions, commentary, and other fun stuff related to NBA Live, NBA 2K, and other basketball video games.

Last week, the gaming community learned more about the Nintendo Switch, which is scheduled for release worldwide on March 3rd, 2017. Of particular interest to those of us in the basketball gaming community, we learned that Visual Concepts will be releasing NBA 2K18 for the console in September this year. The announcement reflects the general increase in third party support that has been pledged for the Switch, after several developers abandoned the Wii U very quickly. As you may recall, NBA 2K13 was the first and only basketball game Visual Concepts released for the Wii U, and the last NBA 2K title released on the original Wii.

With the Nintendo Switch being a hybrid portable and home console, and gaining the support of third party developers, it’s certainly generating a lot of interest and discussion ahead of its launch. With the confirmation that NBA 2K18 will be released for the Switch, it might be a viable option for basketball gamers who haven’t yet invested in a PlayStation 4 or Xbox One, and don’t have a suitable gaming PC. With that in mind, is the Nintendo Switch something that I’m personally interested in, either instead of or in addition to the gaming platforms that I currently own?

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The Friday Five: 5 Suggestions for Dynasty Mode in NBA Live

The Friday Five

Welcome to this week’s edition of The Friday Five! The Friday Five is a feature that I post every Friday in which I give my thoughts on a topic that’s related to NBA Live, NBA 2K, and other basketball video games, as well as the real NBA, and other areas of interest to our community. The feature is presented as either a list of five items, or in the form of a Top 5 countdown.

Last week, I posted five suggestions for enhancing the gameplay in NBA Live 17 and beyond. While it’s important that the gameplay delivers a quality experience, basketball video games also need robust modes if they’re going to hold our interest for any length of time. After all, no matter how fun and realistic the gameplay, a string of meaningless exhibition games is going to get boring after a while. It’s therefore vital that NBA Live’s franchise, career, and card collecting modes are all deep and engaging experiences. The addition of a couple of other modes – such as All-Star Weekend – wouldn’t go astray, either.

For the moment, however, let’s focus on Dynasty Mode. It’s traditionally been my mode of choice in NBA Live, and it’s the mode with the longest heritage in the series. Right now, Dynasty is functional, but it’s also missing a lot of basic functions and features that could be found in its predecessors. Simply bringing back those elements would be a significant improvement for the mode, but I am hoping that future NBA Live games can go even further in fleshing out the franchise experience. Here are five suggestions that I believe would help achieve that goal.

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Wayback Wednesday: LeBron James’ Free Agency in NBA Live 10

LeBron James in NBA Live 10

This is Wayback Wednesday, your midweek blast from the past! In this feature, we dig into the archives, look back at the history of basketball gaming, and indulge in some nostalgia. Check in every Wednesday for retrospectives and other features on older versions of NBA Live, NBA 2K, and old school basketball video games in general. You’ll also find old NLSC editorials re-published with added commentary, and other flashback content.

Since I’m still working on a few retrospectives for Wayback Wednesday (as well as our ongoing 20th Anniversary of NBA Live content), I’ve been looking through the archives for something fun and interesting to share with you this week. Combing through an old folder of images, I came across a collection of screenshots of LeBron James in NBA Live 10. I took them in May 2010 for an article that was looking ahead to his upcoming free agency, and speculating upon which jersey he might be wearing come the 2011 season. Since LeBron announced his number change prior to his free agency, he’s wearing number six in all of them.

As it happened, both LeBron James’ career and the fortunes of the NBA Live series took an infamous turn just a few months later. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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Monday Tip-Off: Do We Still Have Fun with Basketball Games?

NLSC Thrillho in a 2K Pro-Am game in NBA 2K17

We’re at midcourt, and the ball is about to go up…it’s Monday Tip-Off! Start your week here at the NLSC with a feature that’s dedicated to opinions, commentary, and other fun stuff related to NBA Live, NBA 2K, and other basketball video games.

If you’re reading this, chances are you’re a fan of basketball video games. It’s what we cover here at the NLSC, so unless you’re a Forum veteran who’s mostly sticking around for the chatter in the off-topic sections, basketball gaming is probably why you’re (hopefully!) visiting us on a regular basis. And if content related to basketball video games is what you’re after, then it’s quite likely that you’re very much into the hobby. In short, it’s probably safe to say that most of us around these parts are having fun with basketball games, in one way or another.

Or are we? Discussions about a game’s problems seem to have more steam than topics talking about how much fun we’re having. There are times when it seems that most of the conversations that aren’t related to modding are concerned with troubleshooting and complaints. Those are obviously valid and important issues to talk about, of course, but I do wonder why we’re not as eager to talk about our more positive experiences with hoops titles. As such, there are times when I think it’s fair to ask: do we still have fun with basketball games?

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